Mid Wales

Anger at Aberystwyth fatal lake crash driver's sentence

The families of two teenagers who died in a car crash near Aberystwyth reacted angrily as the driver was given a community order.

Anwen Busby, 16, and Jai Burkes, 18, died when the car they were in rolled into a lake.

Ashley Williams, 22, from Llanrhystud, who had admitted causing the deaths by careless driving, was told to do 250 hours unpaid work by the Swansea judge.

Relatives shouted: "He's got away with it" as he was sentenced.

Others wept and swore as the sentence was passed amid angry scenes at Swansea Crown Court.

A scuffle broke out as police intervened to remove one angry family member as he screamed his protest in court.

Outside, friends of the two dead teenagers shouted at police and claimed: "This is not justice."

Williams was sentenced to a two-year supervised community order and disqualified from driving for three years.

The crash last August saw the car the friends were travelling in land on its roof in a lake near Aberystwyth, after rolling down an embankment.

Out of control

Image caption Anwen Busby, 16, and Jai Burkes, 18, died after the car plunged into a lake

Two other 16-year-old girls, Charlotte Tourle and Amy Valentine, survived and were cut free from the wreckage of the car, which ended up in 4ft (1.2m) of water.

It happened on the A44 between Aberystwyth and Ponterwyd early on 31 August, 2010.

Williams' red Ford Focus Zetec 1.6cc spun out of control at a sharp bend, before careering 20ft down an embankment.

He managed to free himself but the three girls and his best friend Mr Burkes were trapped inside the wreckage.

In court, Judge Christopher Vosper QC said he was hesitant as he passed sentence, but the order was looking to Williams's future, not the past.

He acknowledged that some would regard his sentence as too lenient.

'Not justice'

Image caption An angry relative of the teenagers who died arguing with a police officer outside court

Prosecutor John Hipkin outlined the account that Williams had given police when they arrived at the crash scene.

Williams had struggled unsuccessfully to free his friends then desperately tried, without success, to flag down passing cars, he said.

He eventually ran to a nearby house and raised the alarm before returning to the scene where the trapped passengers could be heard screaming.

It took firefighters two hours to cut the youngsters free.

At a previous hearing Williams denied a more serious charge of causing their deaths by driving dangerously and the pleas were accepted by the prosecution.

As Williams' father Robert Williams left court, he said: "Ashley's been through personal hell this past year.

"It has always been and always will be a tragic accident."

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